When it comes to homestyle Italian cooking, Western New York has a rich history of Italian cooking and heritage throughout the region. It should come as no surprise that gems like Casa Antica in Lewiston, New York continue to embody the heart and soul of the cuisine that has shaped much of the geographical area.
The specialty entrees at Casa Antica are the top of the line when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine. The osso bucco di vitello comes soaking in its own juices, consisting of slow-braised veal shank with arborio rice, porcini mushrooms, cream, pecorino romano cheese, and asparagus. The scaloppini di vitello follows suite, as the sauteed veal scallopini comes with a chef’s platter of vegetables and choice of lemon, marsala, picata, or francese sauce.
The cotoletta parmigiana features a tender veal cutlet, breaded and fried, then topped with house tomato sauce and melted mozzarella before being paired with homemade fettucine pasta. One of the pricier options on the menu, the filetto di manzo alla griglia, emphasizes a grilled ten ounce beef tenderloin topped with a mushroom and onion agro dolce, before being paired with chef’s choice vegetables.
The pollo Sorrentino highlights sauteed chicken layered in eggplant, prosciutto, mozzarella, and sundried tomatoes in marsala then topped with mushrooms, asparagus spears, and roman artichokes. Another great chicken entrée, the chicken Milanese, features a breaded chicken cutlet served with a cucumber, tomato, and red onion salad with house vinaigrette.
The filetto di salmone, Casa Antica’s Atlantic salmon fillet, comes seared and then broiled, before being topped with grain Dijon mustard and dairy cream, and served with asparagus and creamy risotto. The implementation of risotto into other seafood dishes, like the risotto capesante featuring day boat U-10 sea scallops sauteed with asparagus and onions served over a risotto bed, is another great utilization of complementary items on the menu.
The seafood in general at Casa Antica is well-paired with any pasta. The zuppa di pesce marinara features a wide array of seafood samplings, including scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, and South African lobster served in marinara sauce over spaghetti. The linguine alle vongole veraci likewise highlights linguine and clams in extra virgin olive oil, served with fresh parsley in choice of white wine or marinara sauce.
One must-try dish, the ravioli con aragosta, features lobster raviolis sauteed in a gorgonzola cream sauce with sundried tomatoes, sweet peas, mushrooms, and fresh herbs, and comes served with a lobster tail and jumbo shrimp. The fettucine Bolognese has a sauce that cannot be missed either, highlighting homemade fettuccine pasta topped with the slow braised meat sauce.
For a simpler pasta dish, or a more affordable option depending on one’s perspective, the rigatoni vodka tops the list, featuring homemade rigatoni in a vodka cream sauce with fresh tomatoes, basil, and parmigiana cheese. Similarly, the gnocchi pasta al pesto highlights homemade potato gnocchi with basil, garlic, pignoli nuts, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, and other herbs and a touch of cream for a down-home taste that cannot be beat.
The attention to detail on the pizzas at Casa Antica makes them an ideal family meal, or a great night-out meal to share with friends. The build your own option starts at twelve bucks with toppings going on at two-fifty a pop from there. For a plain and simple pie, the Sicilian Old Fashion comes with pecorino romano cheese, fresh oregano, EVO, and a light red sauce.
Moving into the specialty pies, there is the house Antica with thinly sliced eggplant, spicy sopresseta, EVO, pesto, fresh mozzarella, and basil. The vodka pizza comes with crispy prosciutto, Casa Antica vodka sauce, basil, and mozzarella, while the Florentine pizza features arugula, pecorino romano cheese, and prosciutto with a balsamic vinaigrette reduction.
The Americano pizza does a unique spin on an Americanized pie with a house red sauce base, pepperoni, mozzarella, and French fries. For those seeking the heat, the diablo pizza comes with spicy sopressetta, Calabrian peppers, sausage, Hungarian peppers, basil, and chili flakes. The banana pepper pizza offers a less spicy alternative, featuring stuffed banana peppers, house gorgonzola cream cheese sauce, and tomatoes.
The artichoke pizza of course features artichokes, as well as the house cream sauce, onions, fresh mozzarella, and diced tomatoes, while the chicken salad pizza comes with mixed greens, gorgonzola cheese, and house Italian dressing with choice of breaded or grilled chicken. The Italian specialty pies continue with the margherita, topped with fresh basil, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and a light house red sauce. The top of the line and menu pie, the capricciosa pizza comes with mushrooms, artichokes, eggs, and prosciutto di parma.
When it comes to appetizers at Casa Antica, there is a healthy mix of seafood and veggie plates. The cozze marinara highlights steamed mussels in the diner’s choice of a light red marinara or lemon and white wine sauce, while the zuppa di clams offers the same with steamed clams. The calamari fritti brings in some serious flavor with floured and fried calamari topped with fresh cut zucchini sticks and house red sauce.
The arancini, also known as rice balls, features two of the most intricate and delicate little arborio rice balls stuffed, breaded, then fried. The first comes stuffed with spinach in a crema sauce, while the second contains ground beef, peas, and mozzarella in the house tomato sauce. If there is any one appetizer one must sample, let it be the arancini.
The caprese appetizer highlights fresh Buffalo-made mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, while the insalata Cesare features romaine lettuce topped with homemade Cesare dressing, sliced eggs, and anchovies for a salty kick.
No Buffalo institution is complete without stuffed banana peppers. The pepperoni caldi ripieni highlights the infamous yellow peppers by stuffing them with Genova salami and pecorino cheese, before topping them with a three cheese cream sauce. One last must-try, the artichoke francese, also known as artichoke hearts, comes lightly battered and topped with francese sauce for a sweet and tangy crispy finish.